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New jobs were below half of what analysts were hoping for.

As October begins in earnest, economic analysts have poured through economic numbers to assemble the jobs report for September, and while they were optimistic, it seems the ultimate numbers have fallen well short of their expectations. While the overall unemployment rate of the United States fell to 4.8%, only around 194,000 new jobs were added to the economy. This is less than half of the 500,000 new jobs analysts were hoping for.

The obvious culprit for this lackluster report is the delta variant of COVID-19, as September saw multiple fresh spikes of the virus around the country. As such, while things have undoubtedly improved from the pandemic’s peak, the unemployment rate is still notably higher than it was prior to its beginning in March of 2020. The sector than managed some of the largest gains last month was leisure and hospitality, which picked up around 74,000 jobs. Unfortunately, that sector is still down by 1.6 million jobs compared to pre-pandemic numbers.

In spite of the disappointing news, analysts are trying their best to remain optimistic. “Despite the weak growth in September, today’s report is a glimpse in the rearview mirror,” Glassdoor senior economist Daniel Zhao told ABC News. “With the Delta variant wave receding, the worst of the Delta wave may be behind us.”

“The decelerating jobs growth in September is likely to disappoint employers and policymakers that hoped the expiration of enhanced UI benefits would push Americans back into the labor force,” he said. “Ultimately, the September report will not be the final word in the debate over the impact of UI benefits.”

“As we head into the fall, the resumption of school reopenings and expiration of UI benefits may push some workers back into the labor force, but red-hot labor demand is likely to keep labor shortages top of mind for employers,” Zhao added.